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  • Ocean City Receives “Clean” Audit for Municipal Finances

    first_imgMichael Garcia, of the accounting firm Ford-Scott Associates LLC, said there were no negative findings in the audit. By Donald WittkowskiOcean City’s finances are well-managed and in strong shape as the municipality continues to keep its debt structure low through conservative spending, according to the results of an annual audit presented to City Council on Tuesday night.“I’m happy to report this is a clean audit,” said Michael Garcia, a partner with Ford-Scott Associates LLC, the Ocean City accounting firm that performed the 2016 financial review.Garcia told Council that the audit did not uncover any errors or areas of concern, resulting in no negative findings or recommendations by his company. He noted that the city continues to have clean audits year after year.“You have a well-run city when it comes to the financial areas,” Garcia said.Garcia went out of his way to praise the city’s chief financial officer, Frank Donato, and his financial team for their work.“It’s always nice to present an audit when it’s clean,” Garcia said.Chief Financial Officer Frank Donato and his team were praised for their oversight of the municipal finances.At the conclusion of Garcia’s presentation, members of Council also credited Donato with keeping the city’s finances on solid footing.“Frank is the Michael Jordan of what he does,” Councilman Bob Barr said. “We’re lucky to have him.”Councilman Keith Hartzell said the audit shows that city property owners “are not going to get hit with a big tax increase.”The audit, which is required every year, is a top-to-bottom review of the city’s spending, revenue, debt structure, payroll and other financial areas.Donato said the audit will be posted on the city’s website at www.ocnj.us by Wednesday. Garcia made a public presentation on the audit during Tuesday’s Council meeting. Council met on Tuesday this week instead of its normal Thursday night meeting schedule.Garcia told Council that the city is well within the debt limits allowed by state law, reflecting a conservative approach toward its revenue projections and overall spending.“We budget very conservatively,” Mayor Jay Gillian said in response. “We’re very conservative and try to hit the numbers we can.”City Council accepted the audit and was pleased to hear of the results.Garcia said the city has a net debt of about $122 million, which is 1 percent of the town’s ratable base. That figure is well below the maximum allowable debt limit of 3.5 percent of the ratable base, he said.Bonds and notes that finance public projects comprise the city’s debt. The city has strengthened its financial position through its habit of often paying off its debt quickly, which saves interest costs, according to Garcia.“The faster you can pay it off, the better it is,” he said.Local taxes primarily fund the municipal budget, but the city is also helped by a variety of income sources, including beach tag sales and parking revenues, that largely stem from its influx of summer tourists. The city’s budget forecasts $4.1 million in beach tag sales and $3 million in parking revenue for 2017.Garcia said the city also has an extraordinarily high tax-collection rate of 99.29 percent. The figure indicates that the vast majority of property owners are paying their local taxes on time.The city’s finances are also helped by the growing tax base. In 2017, for instance, the ratable base has increased by about $120 million compared to 2016 and now totals nearly $11.6 billion. The ratable base is the combined value of all taxable real estate.last_img read more

  • German female ref makes history as Leckie nets again

    first_imgBibiana Steinhaus in actionBerlin, Germany | AFP | Germany’s Bibiana Steinhaus made history on Sunday as the first female referee to officiate a match in a top European league by taking charge of Hertha Berlin’s 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen.Steinhaus became the first woman to referee a top-tier match in the German, English, French, Italian or Spanish leagues when she oversaw the Bundesliga encounter in Berlin.The 38-year-old had built up a wealth of experience by refereeing 80 second-division games since 2007 and was the fourth official on numerous occasions in the Bundesliga, but this was her refereeing debut in the top flight.“I’ll be delighted when normality returns as of tomorrow,” said Steinhaus after a busy week amidst intense media attention. “The crucial thing for us is not to be the focus after 90 minutes, which is what we achieved and we’re happy” she added, speaking on behalf of her refereeing team.To mark the occasion, Hertha offered half-price tickets to female supporters who wanted to see Steinhaus in charge.She kept tight control at the Olympic Stadium and fulfilled her pre-match wish that her performance would not attract headlines for the wrong reasons.Stainhaus got a thumbs up from the president of the German Football Association (DFB).“She was under unbelievable pressure, yet was poised for all the important situations and made the right decisions, that was a confident display,” enthused DFB boss Reinhard Grindel.“You could see that she has unbelievable experience.”Steinhaus smartly allowed play to continue when Australia’s Mathew Leckie scored for the hosts after 38 minutes despite a foul on Hertha’s Vladimir Darida in the build-up. – Bremen off the mark –Leckie now has three goals in as many league games this season after his arrival from Ingolstadt.center_img “I can only praise Bibiana Steinhaus, especially for the scenes around the first goal, when she let the advantage play on,” said Berlin coach Pal Dardai.“That speaks for her experience.“Much respect – she let a lot of things go, even though it was a physically-intensive game. I am very happy.”Steinhaus then turned down Hertha midfielder Valentin Stocker’s appeal for a penalty on 76 minutes, which replays showed was the right decision but one that earned her whistles from the disgruntled home crowd.Bibiana Steinhaus: “Thank you for the fair start and allowing me and my team to enjoy the day.” #BSCSVW #hahohe pic.twitter.com/WBWveuLhBG— Hertha Berlin (@HerthaBSC_EN) September 10, 2017Bremen earned a point in Berlin, their first of the campaign, when captain Thomas Delaney smashed the ball home on 59 minutes after forcing his way through the Hertha defence.Steinhaus’ performance was also met with approval from Bremen coach Alexander Nouri, whose side remain in the bottom three.“As I said before the game, the sex of the referee doesn’t matter, only the performance and it was okay today,” said the Werder boss.Her partner, Englishman Howard Webb, the referee for the 2010 World Cup final, was in the German capital to watch Steinhaus take charge.Named on the official list of Bundesliga referees for 2017/18, Steinhaus sat out the first two rounds of German league matches before making her top-tier debut on Sunday.Steinhaus has been refereeing since 2007 and officiated the women’s Champions League final this year as well as the women’s 2012 Olympic Games final in London.– Schalke leapfrog Bayern –Schalke scored twice in the space of a minute after the break in their 3-1 victory at home to Stuttgart.Ex-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Nabil Bentaleb converted a penalty after just four minutes, but Congo midfielder Chadrac Akolo equalised for Stuttgart with his first goal for the club before half-time.Schalke immediately regained the lead after the interval when defender Naldo headed home — on his birthday — and striker Guido Burgstaller fired in their third before Naldo cleared a Stuttgart shot off the line.The result left Schalke fifth, ahead of defending champions Bayern Munich, who are sixth after Saturday’s shock 2-0 defeat at Hoffenheim, while leaders Borussia Dortmund were held to a goalless draw at Freiburg.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more